In ruling NY N323051 (December 16, 2021), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the classification of plastic cutting boards from China designed to be used as surfaces for cutting and chopping foods in the kitchen. More specifically, the merchandise was a pack of two cutting boards, with both cutting boards consisting of 60% polypropylene (PP) and 40% medium density fiberboard (MDF). The top and bottom surfaces of both boards were made of polypropylene with an MDF core. The cutting boards were differentiated by their size – with the large cutting board measuring approximately 11.8 inches long by 7.9 inches wide by 0.39 inches thick compared to the smaller cutting board measuring approximately 9.84 inches long by 6.29 inches wide by 0.39 inches thick. In addition, both cutting boards were white, had a red trim around their border, had a grip handle, and were packaged together for retail sale.

CBP determined that the cutting boards were composite goods compromised of different materials that could be classifiable under different headings. Per General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(b) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), composite goods that cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a) shall be classified as if they consisted of the material of component which gives the goods their essential character. As previously noted, the top and bottom surfaces of the cutting boards were 60% polypropylene while the core was made of 40% MDF. As such, CBP determined that the MDF did not provide the cutting surface and that it did not make up the bulk of the cutting boards; rather, the polypropylene performed these functions. Therefore, Customs found that the polypropylene granted the cutting boards their essential character. In its determination CBP determined that the applicable subheading for the two-pack cutting boards was 3924.10.4000, HTSUS, which provides for “Tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and hygienic or toilet articles, of plastics: Tableware and kitchenware: Other.” The general rate of duty is be 3.4% ad valorem.